A two-hour live television broadcast from aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston will air globally on National Geographic Channel (NGC) and in the UK on Channel 4 in March.
Produced by Arrow Media, Live From Space will take viewers aboard the ISS with astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata as it completes an orbit around the earth. Astronaut Mike Massimino will also appear in the special from Mission Control.
An interactive component will enable viewers to video chat with Mastracchio and Wakata and “have their faces beamed into space to join the conversation,” according to NGC. The network is also creating a second-screen experience – or “social-media telescope” – that will allow viewers to track the space station while examining the people who inhabit the earth below its path in real-time.
Live From Space will simulcast in 170 countries via NGC, and on Mundo, NGC’s Spanish-language network in the U.S.
The special will feature shots of earth at sunrise and sunset, city lights, lightning storms and shooting stars, and take viewers on a tour of the ISS and show how the astronauts are able to live in micro-gravity for months. The astronauts will conduct experiments to show viewers the scientific value of ISS projects, such as a robotic system that is the inspiration for a neuro-surgical robot that removes brain tumors.
The broadcast will coincide with NGC and Fox’s 13-part series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the successor to Carl Sagan’s landmark science series.
In the UK, Live From Space is part of Channel 4′s month-long ‘Live From Space Season.’ The broadcast will air under the title Live From Space: Lap of the Planet (working title) and feature presenter Dermot O’Leary, professor Stephen Hawking and British astronaut Tim Peake, who will join the crew aboard the ISS in 2015.
Additionally, the network has ordered two more space specials from Arrow Media: Astronauts: Living In Space (one x 60 minutes, working title), which follows Mastracchio and Wakata as they prep for the mission, and Astronauts: Houston We Have a Problem (one x 60 minutes, working title), which is about flight controllers, scientists, engineers, and medics who support the crew in space.
Both will air on Channel 4 in the week preceding the live event. All three programs were commissioned by head of specialist factual David Glover.
Live From Space was created by Arrow Media, with Tom Brisley, Al Berman and Sally Dixon executive producing. Madeleine Carter is executive producing for NGC and Glover is executive producing for C4.